of the Lost Arts
be widely understood and universally agreed upon that distinctions
within the arts are no longer necessary. In the wake (in the
funereal sense) of postmodernism, the necessity, desire, or
rationale for divisions within the arts has been allowed to
putrefy for far too long. Bury it or burn it, but yearn for
it no longer. The complete realization of a creative liberation
of the "true will to live" demands immediate convolution
of all discourses - not simply painting, sculpture, and performance,
but biology, history, agriculture, politics and so on. Is this
simply interdisciplinarianism? No! It is the elaborate and pragmatic
integration of all things related into an associative life/practice
that summons the creative and prophetic power of the multitude.
In short, it is creative problem-solving and the refusal to
dine on the ashes that fuel the commodification of our efforts
to explore the wonders of a momentary existence.
to begin? We embark as raiders of the lost arts: the radical
approach requires that we look to the roots of our collective
artistic endeavors. In the same way that graffiti has not lost
the ritual potency once-possessed by cave-dwelling shamans,
we must tap the source of the creative-mindspring; a return
of the primitive not to the primitive. The creative urge, that
primal impulse to redefine our environment through an evolving
understanding and active manipulation of the forces at play,
is more than a mere skill to be added to a list of competitive
edges to procure employment. Why use creative juices to stimulate
your rung-hunger in corporate ladder battles, when it can be
used for the enchanted celebration of the 5 out of 7 days you
so lovingly devote to __________ (insert appropriate moniker
of vehemence: e.g. Machine, System, Spectacle, Capital, or merely
the appellation of your workplace)?
By art we
don't mean "fine arts." By art we mean nearly all
of the dictionary definitions except those that imply the indulgences
of taste and connoisseurship: skill and cunning, artifice and
craftiness; the unanalyzable creative power of the imagination
used to execute well what one has devised. And in so doing,
one might do well to additionally execute the parasitic harbingers
of capitalism that so lustily cling to the "fine"
arts. A return of the Arts reveals much in the way of study
and praxis, as we soon become aware of the manifold arts that
cease to inform (or perhaps marginally) the revolutionary practice
of living la vida loca.
As a fortuitous
first-step we need look no further than Martial Arts and Magical
Arts. For starters, both burn with the intensity of putting
philosophy to the test of practical (not productive) application.
Even in their most anachronistic yieldings, in their impractical,
irrational or, dare we say 'spiritual' bifurcations (but surely
not in their overly-commodified costuming), Martial Arts and
Magical Arts set out to establish collective subjectivities
evoked for the purpose of transferring their potency amidst
the affairs of everyday life. These are not arts that quest
for validation based on the improprieties of market-driven aesthetics,
but rather they achieve self-validation through the efficacy
of their actions, immediately and through associative accumulations.
Such are the Arts of TransAction. And no, we are not talking
about the exchange of Capital.
marketplace misdirects our inquest. If you walk into most any
used bookstore and ask for books on 'magic', you'll typically
be asked, " What kind?" A response of, "Both
kinds," will get you a brief a look of surprise followed
by directions to the "Entertainment, Games, Hobbies, and
Pastimes" section as well as the "New Age, Occult,
Mysticism, and Other Religions" section. This is your first
clue along an adventuresome path that's historically shrouded
in mystery, deception, control, and secrecy (in no particular
order of preference). It is also your first test as an aspirant
in the realm of magic, a world that mixes entertainment and
other religions into a powerful potion. By refusing the binary
option posed to you, you have successfully navigated the "choose-your-own
-adventure" crossroads and taken your first step up the
golden pyramid of transformation.
of whether one thinks first of pulling rabbits out of top hats
or of new-age, crystal worshippers, many people's first response
to the topic of magic is that of dismissal. Tuxedo-monkeys performing
cheesy Las Vegas stage-acts, Gothic-Wiccan-hippies burning sage
in their dreadlocks, and Harry Potter wannabe's playing Dungeons
& Dragons in black trench coats. While such examples are
indeed a part of our collective reality, they are by no means
the measure of philosophies and practices that span not only
the globe, but much of humanity's existence and development.
Centuries of successful sleight of hand proves that human perception
has evolved little since the days of ancient Egypt. Surely such
an observation has not escaped the eyes of Power. Quite the
contrary! From military manuals to marketing primers, we find
evidence of the accumulation of a grand cache of magical knowledge
derived from stagecraft and occult sciences. Why is it then
that we so readily dismiss 'magic' in all of its abundant permutations?
What are we taught about magic, and what examples are consistently
peddled to us in the cultural supermarket? Or more importantly,
what is to be gained by questioning our dismissive tendencies
and engaging in discourses and practices which we've been raised
to believe are irrational, fantastical, or even counterproductive?
making flowers bloom in the draft of their honey-making prep
work, what we beckon forth are the spell-binding endeavors,
encrypted and preserved in lost arts and artfulness, that leave
behind the sensed effects of exchange and reciprocity, whether
between individuals, communities, environments, or other systems
of existence. Not a single magic flower, but a garden that nourishes
through multiplicity and cumulative effect - this is the shapeshifting
art of transformation. This is Tactical Magic.